Kennesaw State responds after cheerleaders kneel during national anthem
KENNESAW, Ga. -- A metro Atlanta university is responding after a nationwide protest spread to their home field during a recent football game - and explaining the absence of the same students at the following game.
Across the country, players and others have knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who first began the practice to protest the killing of African Americans by police.
One of the latest displays of defiance was at a Kennesaw State University football game where some cheerleaders took a knee during the national anthem at their game against North Greenville University on Sept. 30.
This video shows the cheerleaders kneel at the same moment their teammates take their posture for the playing of the anthem.
At their next game on Oct. 7, against Texas Southern, the cheerleaders were not on the field until after some pre-game activities.
The school's department of athletics said this change was centered on giving the squad a different kind of introduction saying:
"As the season unfolds, we have made several changes to the game day experience including this week's change that provided KSU's mascot and cheerleaders with the same type of introduction afforded the football team."
A representative from the school wouldn't address the university's stance on the kneeling directly but did say, "Kennesaw State University believes that it is important to honor the national anthem. It is equally as important to respect the rights of individuals as protected under the first amendment."
THE HISTORY OF THIS PROTEST
In an interview with NFL.com last season, Kaepernick explained why he started first sitting out and then kneeling during the national anthem.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said, to NFL.com. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
He said, "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."